Port of Bremerton approves contract for private security

The Port of Bremerton recently voted to hire nighttime private security for both the Bremerton and Port Orchard Marinas.

By a 2-1 vote, the port hired Safe Security, a Silverdale-based company that will provide security 365 days per year during the late night and overnight hours beginning June 1. The contract is for $41,000 for the remainder of 2020 and for $72,000 per year after.

Port Commissioners Cary Bozeman and Gary Anderson voted in favor of the contract, while commissioner Axel Strakeljahn opposed.

Bozeman said the country was facing the possibility of an economic depression not seen in decades and that the port should take steps to prevent anything from happening to boats in its marinas, noting that some having their life savings sunk into the cost and maintenance of their boats.

“The world has dramatically changed in the last few months,” Bozeman said, “and above all it seems to me we have a moral responsibility in difficult times to protect the property of our tenants.”

However, Strakeljahn questioned the need for extra security at the port and the associated costs while noting that he did not oppose the selection of Safe Security itself, which provides security services for Port of Silverdale, praising owner Christine Scott.

“Christine has been in the community a long time,” Strakeljahn said, “and I know she runs a great operation there and I have a lot of respect for the services she provides.”

But at the heart of his objection was the relatively few police-documented incidents he found while speaking to chiefs from the Cities of Bremerton and Port Orchard. He presented his findings that the port’s address in Bremerton had 18 services calls between May 1, 2019 and May 1, 2020 while Port Orchard had 37. Of those incidents, five were recorded by police.

“I really want everybody to understand – I understand the passion behind this and I believe that we need to be secure in all of our facilities, not only in the marinas, but obviously the airports as well,” Strakeljahn said. “… We also have to respect our customers’ property. I hold that all in very, very high regard.”

But, he added, “This does not make sense to me,” when folding in the $72,000 per year figure, which he did not think the port should be spending when it sees relatively few security problems.

Anderson, in explaining his yes vote, said that while some more remote ports do not have security because they have virtually no incidents, ports closer to busier areas tend to have more problems. Anderson said it would not be fair to put liveaboards in the position to have to deal with security issues.

Anderson also cited a survey in which 65 percent of port tenants said they would be willing to pay higher tariffs for professional security. He suggested revising those tariffs to provide the marinas with good security.

“I don’t feel it’s a good idea, managing an asset like a port, that we should subject our liveaboards to be responsible for security problems and what that could potentially bring,” Anderson said.

As part of the contract, uniformed security officers will spend approximately four hours per night at each marina, patrolling the docks, the parking lot and the waterfront boardwalk. An officer will be present 365 days a year, which includes holidays and provides a daily log of all activities while on shift, and there will also be spot checks from a roving supervisor.

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